Berntsson J, Smith JG, Johnson LSB, Söderholm M, Borné Y, Melander O, Orho-Melander M, Nilsson J, Engström G
Heart 105 (7) 553-558 [2019-04-00; online 2018-10-16]
Vascular endothelial growth factor D (VEGF-D) has important functions in lymphangiogenesis and angiogenesis. High plasma levels of VEGF-D have been associated with incidence of heart failure. The association of VEGF-D with atrial fibrillation (AF) and stroke is unclear and we hypothesised that VEGF-D could also be associated with incidence of AF and ischaemic stroke. VEGF-D was measured in fasting blood samples of 4689 subjects (40% men) without a history of AF from the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study, a prospective, population-based study in Sweden. Median age was 58 years (range 46-68). Cox regression analyses, adjusted for multiple risk factors, was used to assess AF and ischaemic stroke risk in relation to VEGF-D levels. During a median follow-up time of 20.6 years, there were 637 cases of incident AF and 322 cases of first ischaemic stroke. After adjustment, VEGF-D was significantly associated with AF (HR 1.13(95% CI 1.04 to 1.23) per 1 SD increase) and ischaemic stroke (HR 1.14(95% CI 1.02 to 1.28) per 1 SD). The association with ischaemic stroke was explained by an increased incidence of AF-related stroke. HRs per 1 SD were 1.34 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.71) for AF-related ischaemic stroke and 1.04 (95% CI 0.90 to 1.19) for ischaemic stroke without AF. Increased VEGF-D concentrations were associated with AF and ischaemic stroke. The relationship with ischaemic stroke was more pronounced in subjects with a diagnosis of AF.